Kenya’s National carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ) last week announced a partnership with a United Kingdom-based logistics firm to offer drone services as it seeks to diversify its income source and cut reliance on passenger travel, which has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The national carrier announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Skyports to collaborate on launching drone operations in the country.
The announcement came just months after the regulator, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), legalized the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the country, triggering what is shaping up to be a commercial drone delivery race.
“The partnership aims to explore the commercial viability and impact of various medical, logistical and inspection use cases alongside Kenya’s leading public and private institutions with the launch of the first drone delivery flights slated for Q3-Q4 this year,” KQ and Skyport said in a joint statement.
A number of firms have so far announced their drone operations in Kenya among them Astral Aviation, which is targeting the use of the UAVs in traffic management, training of drone pilots, and mapping activities.
Others are Adriana and Drone Space, which have been licensed by KCAA. Adriana Innovations Limited offers drone enterprise and commercial solutions to various industries, including agricultural spraying, streaming virtual Reality, TV live streams, inspections, mapping and surveys, high-end commercial cinematography.
Farmers are also now accessing this technology, which has been touted to cut costs and save on time taken to perform activities such as farming. Several firms have also come up to offer these services with large-scale farmers embracing the technology.
More companies are expected to join the race to dominate the commercial drone space in Kenya after approval of the regulations paved the way for the full implementation of the unmanned aircraft systems regulatory framework in Kenya.